Dear friends and readers, and those who regularly send us hate mail, a very Happy New Year to you all and welcome to a one-off Vivian’s New Year Message.
As many of you will know at this festive time usually my co-star Queenie brings you her Christmas message. Unfortunately this year she’s still in prison after a rather unfortunate incident with a champagne bottle and a jobsworth at a lavish department store. But fear not she will be back with us in the early new year to dish her views on Celebrity Big Brother.
So for the first time the festive ATV Today message has been penned by yours truly, Vivian Summers. And while the previous six years have seen Queenie reflect upon the twelve months gone by in detail, from famous faces to television shows and world events, I can’t particularly be arsed with all of that fanny on. So while I pour myself another vodka, I’ll ponder on one or two bits and bobs.
Firstly I hope you had a wonderful Christmas. I did – not a hint of family or annoying neighbours in sight. Instead I ate a lovely big box of Thorntons Chocolates and got tipsy with rum and coke. I didn’t bother with a traditional festive dinner either, I couldn’t bring myself to go near the Grillo after what happened this year to poor Nigella Lawson.
It hasn’t been a great year for television generally; as usual hours and hours of utter tat pumped out with a few gems shining through now and again. Rather like finding a diamond in the sewage works.
This December was supposed to see the reversed fortunes of EastEnders under its new boss Dominic Trinny and Susannah – or something like that darlings. Well so far the scripts are better but Danny Dyer’s “acting” made me howl with laughter. And you’re not supposed to laugh at or with EastEnders are you? I suppose they wanted to make a media fuss about the show so cast a ‘name’ Unfortunately they’ve gone for the brand in the acting world that is rather Lidl more than Harrods if we’re totally honest.
Still it is early days and he may give us a few surprises along the way. The other thing that I always find amusing about EastEnders is how utterly unrealistic it looks at Christmas time. I’m not sure all the festive crap they spread around the square would last five minutes in the real East End of London. Julia Smith had the right idea when all you got were some tatty old battered Christmas lights around the market street and worse-for-wear tinsel around the market stalls. These days its like a bad mafia movie in Narnia.
Another television highlight for me personally, although Queenie isn’t a fan was the Queen’s Christmas Speech. I got the hint she wasn’t overly keen on the un-elected Tory government’s policies to try and kill-off all our disabled and poor people – via Iain Duncan Smith’s murdering schemes disguised as welfare reform. (I wouldn’t bother mentioning the Lib Dems they’re as much use as Joey Essex at a pub quiz). Anyway our royal one did after all tell us in her message note that we should all think of others in this great Christian land. But dear M’am, the Tories couldn’t think of anyone but themselves – and their donor friend who get all the perks of them being in power – so that is very unlikely. Hopefully they’ll keep IDS in his position for as long as possible, he alone surely makes them totally un-electable by anyone with any compassion or common sense? Sadly I think we live in a very selfish country now so it wouldn’t surprise me if they get back in, God help the poor then.
I personally think IDS out to get these poor people, only a small minority are scum darlings – most are decent people trying to get by, because he is a failed leader of the Tories. And is hitting hard the people who would never elect him in a month of Sundays. Although, lets face the facts – ah facts something the Tories are not keen on – IDS has failed at pretty much everything in his life, but that is no excuse for making up figures and then taking his frustrations and sadistic pleasures out on people less fortunate then himself. I mean we can’t all claim expenses and live a life of luxury on the back of a rich missus – mores the pity.
It nicely leads into the question some social campaigners – certainly those against the ‘Bedroom Tax’ have been suggesting ‘are BBC News shit scared of the Tories?’. It is an interesting question as several protests, with many 1000s of people attending, had no or little coverage by the BBC, only other local media. It doesn’t particularly explain ITV’s absence in reporting such things – they don’t have to fear losing their telly tax revenue. I suppose ITV’s problem is basically local news on their channel these days is about as in-depth as Joey Essex’s knowledge of the English Dictionary.
And once more that leads us into another highlight of 2013 – Countdown still being on our television screens all these years later. Yes it launched in 1982 and its still boring the tits off me darlings all these years on. It clearly sends viewers to sleep in the afternoons with its ratings falling. At least when it was on for half-an-hour at teatime you could stay awake by eating your meal. The good news is the much more amusing 8 out of 10 Cats does Countdown is to return next year, which is good news. Especially for Jimmy Carr and where ever he is storing his profits these days.
Also good news on the game show front that 15 to 1 is to return for specials in prime time and a daytime series too. Double joy – lets drink to that! Cheers. I know from the comments we’ve had here at ATV Today many of you miss William G String as host, but we must move with the times. Just look at how successful Catchphrase has been with Stephen Wots-his-name. It took a bit of trying after the dire two hosts who initially took over from legend Roy Walker, but we’ve got there in the end. If only Family Fortunes could find a decent presenter…
Still Vernon ‘nice teeth’ Kay will be pulling in the viewers for the second series of diabolical ‘celebrity contest’ Splash! With its overly-long shows, shite format and Z-list celebrities its become a success for ITV with critics scratching their heads on how it could be. I’m sure most of us ladies and gay men out there know why – its thanks to camp-but-loveable Tom Daley. Well that isn’t strictly true, its thanks to a nearly naked Tom Daley flashing his bulge at any given opportunity. And good for him.
Also good for ‘her’. Mrs Brown and Mrs Brown’s Boys goes from strength to strength. The big wigs here at ATV love it, namely our editors Doug and Shaun and that other one who lingers around sniffing my knickers Mike. Personally I think it must be the easiest sitcom to have ever created. Is there anything original about it?
We’ve got Les Dawson’s Ada (that itself based on an older character but Les made it his own), the religious aspect of Father Ted, the family aspect from Bless This House and a huge dollop of smut and sentimentality. God bless thee RTÉ and BBC One. I’m only sorry Les Dawson isn’t alive to have given us that Cissy and Ada sitcom he was working on. Now that would have been fecking hilarious…
However Les is very much ‘alive’ thanks to Challenge TV and a great highlight for 2013 for me was the return of Blankey Blank with the comedy genius Dawson as host. ITV also brought Les back from the grave this year for a special edition of ‘An Audience With…’ Les had planned to appear on the show shortly before his death in 1993. While some said the hologram Les wasn’t brilliant, I personally thought it was lovely tribute to a man who a lot of comedians of today could learn a thing or two by watching a master at work.
Which reminds me have you ever noticed that John Bishop is an over-rated comedian? Have you ever noticed that? Have you ever noticed he always says have you ever noticed? Could anyone fail to notice how abysmal his performance was as host of the Royal Variety Performance? I’ve never been fan of Bishops to be honest. Not since that time I went to seek some inspirational words from one and was given a guiding hand right up my skirt. Mind give John credit he’s very good at promoting vegetarianism, so much so PETA have given him an award. Now if they could only find him a decent joke writer…
Also a quick comment on ATV Today. December 2013 marked ten years since we first unleashed the site as a basic way of keeping the ATV name alive online and to counterbalance the arse licking sycophantic sites that never criticise television or radio. Sorry darlings none of us are perfect, so lets celebrate where its due and criticise when needed. I’m not for criticising for the sake of it. We leave that to the Daily Mail.
Our first story on ATV Today back in 2003 was the sad news that Bob Monkhouse had died. Isn’t it wonderful that a decade on from this death he’s still being seen on television in repeats of shows such as Wipeout and Bob’s Full House – and much more than that – his huge collection of tape and film has in recent years seen many lost gems from movie and television rediscovered in his vast archive. What a wonderful legacy he’s left us. Let’s raise a glass to Bob.
I’ve raised so many glasses while writing this I’m not sure how much more I can remember of 2013. To be honest most days are a blur at the best of times so to think past last week has been a challenge. There were highlights of course that made me smile, Simon Cowell being egged, the Queen celebrating being ‘her maj’ for decades and decades and the royal baby of course. There was also the wonderful Strictly Come Dancing entertaining our weekends with fancy frocks and glamorous hairdos – and that was just Bruce Forsyth.
The news GOLD is to mark 40 years since Porridge, with Ronnie Baker, first hit the air is something to look forward to and also it was great to see Open All Hours back on our screens with David Jason taking over the lead role. It has been mooted Only Fools and Horses may also return, but I’d rather see more of Arkwright’s corner shop.
One last thing I will celebrate from the entertainment world before we pay our respects to fallen personalities and creatives is Boyzone are celebrating twenty years of making music. They’re now all hunky men, and what lovely music they’ve given us over the years. My personal favourite may surprise you its If You Were Mine. It makes my nipples hard even listening to it now.
Oh yes I recall with great fondness, and somewhat horny thoughts, back to 1993 when Ronan Keating, Keith Duffy, Mikey Graham, Stephen Gately (RIP) and Shane Lynch bust onto the music scene like manic teenage boys. Teenage girls wanted to kiss them, grannies wanted to mother them and franky I just wanted to fuc…
And finally our roll call of honour for those who have contributed to British culture who have sadly departed in the past twelve months. I raise a glass to you all and I’m sure your work will live on for many years to come. Certainly longer than Joey Essex’s career.
Patti Page, Chrissy Amphlett, Allan Arbus, Ed Shaughnessy, Alvin Lee, John Ammonds, Bryan Forbes, Bill Pertwee, Mick McManus, John Tavener, Marcia Wallace, Noel Harrison, Paul Walker, David Spenser, Joyce Jacobs, Jean Kent, Brian Moll, John Cole, Joey Covington, Nigel Davenport, Karen Black, Peter O’Toole, Lou Scheimer, David Coleman, Ray Dolby, Barry Jackson, Paul Shane, Stan Tracey, Bruce Beeby, Bill Wallis, Joan Regan, Lewis Collins, Felix Dexter, Frank Thornton, Terry Lightfoot, Margaret Pelligrini, Antonia Bird, Henry Bromell, Tony Gubba, Phyllis Diller, Joe Conley, Mike Winters, Jeanne Cooper, Graham Walker, James Herbert, Richard Griffiths, Milo O’Shea, Ray Harryhausen, Tom Vernon, Jon Brookes, Clarence Burke Jr, Eileen Brennan, Peter Harvey, Steve Wiseman, Robert Beers, Bobbie Smith, Cory Monteith, Kevin Ayres.
Mary Riggans, Annette Kerr, Briony McRoberts, Esther Williams, Mel Smith, Dave Ismay, Francis ‘Mystic Ed’ Ward, Derek Watkins, Nigel Jay, Ray Manzarek, Kenny Ball, Sue Stoessl, Harry Green, (Otis) Damon Harris, Richard Street, Bobby Rogers, Arnold Peters, Bernie Nolan, Graham Stark, Ray Butt, Derek Batey, Eddie Braben, Bob Godfrey, Rick Huxley, Denis Forman, Ray Gosling, Kathleen McCormack, Alvin Lee, Cyril Womack, Bonnie Franklin, Tony Lip, Peter Gilmore, Patty Andrews, Allan Lander, Norman Collier, Bernard Horsfall, Gerry Hambling, Ned Wertimer, Dolours Price, Richard Thorp, George Morton, Ray Cusick, Lou Reed, Cleotha Staples, Jane Nebel Henson, Lesley Fitz-Simons, Bonnie Franklin, Jon Finch, Evelyn Ward, Richard Briers, Mindy McCready, Paul Bhattacharjee, Robert Kee, Harry Carey JNR
Rory Morrison, Cliff Morgan, Joan Fontaine, Pete Haycock, Alan Whicker, Van Cliburn, Alasdair Milne, Barrie Edgar, Geoffrey Wheeler, David Jacobs, Reg Turnill, Raymond Cusick, Clive Burr, Chris Martin-Jenkins, Daphne Oxenford, Reg Presley, Colin Davis, Robin Sachs, Lou Myers, John Fortune, Allan McKeown, Patricia Hughes, Peter Banks, Julie Harris, David Frost, Conrad Bain, Michael Winner, Anna Wing, Stan Stennett, David Oates, Jon Leyne, Christopher Martin-Jenkins, Patrick Garland, Dusty Nelson (ATV Elstree staff member), Dave Foster (ATV Elstree Director) and Alan Coleman (ATV Midlands director 1963-72, ATV Head of Children’s Drama 1972-74, ATV Hon. President 2010-13)